Around this time last year, my dear husband decided to try something new. He didn't pick up a new instrument, and he didn't sign up for the gym or start a new career. He decided to do away with pancakes. This was epic news, coming from someone for whom pancakes are a breakfast and brunch staple.
The pancakes were replaced by crêpes, which offered a new level of fun and creativity. You'd have a hard time talking me into drizzling balsamic vinegar on a pancake. Yet, somehow it seems perfectly reasonable coupled with micro greens, cheddar cheese, and bacon, all rolled up in a warm crêpe. A year later, we oscillate between the two, but judging by this Wikipedia entry, we could take an international pancake-based culinary tour and not run out of ideas for quite some time.
Mere days after the crêpe discovery, we were scolded by some French friends - we had celebrated "Pancake Day" too early. Evidently, Pancake Day has been around at least as long as have Lent and Mardi gras traditions.
This year, I resolved to mark the occasion, which falls on the Tuesday before Lent begins. For centuries, the day before Lent has been known as Shrove Tuesday. It is also called Fat Tuesday (Mardi gras), a last opportunity to indulge in decadent foods for six weeks. For a similar reason, the day has also long been referred to as “Pancake Day.” It is said that pancakes are a fine means of using up foodstuffs not acceptable during Lent. This year, it was February 12.
As luck would have it, I wound up early again. Last Saturday (February 9), I stood in line with a lot of other chilly folks, in the middle of Vieux-Québec. We were taking advantage of one of the highlights of our annual winter carnival - the flapjack breakfast hosted by the Calgary-Quebec Exchange (click to read QCT article).
I had a great time chatting with the old cowboys and JCs who started the event nearly 60 years ago. The local Hilton Hotel hosts the Calgary contingent every year, and the Executive Chef cooperates with the pancake crew, ensuring they have everything ready. The chef, Mario Gagnon, is on the left in the left photo (below).
In case you're in the mood for a tasty brunch, here's Jerod's standard pancake recipe (as published in this week's QCT). If you observe Lent, just tuck away the following recipe for next year. If your traditions are more flexible, make a pancake breakfast this month, and be sure you use all those tempting ingredients - eggs, dairy, fat and sugar.